An article I wrote on the crucifixion for Easter week appeared today on the Crosswalk website. While I don’t like the title they put to it, I do think Christianity needs to re-think the cross. I think we’ve got the story wrong—viewing it from our shame-induced stupor from the fall wanting to appease an angry God—rather than looking back from our redemption as God’s children and seeing the Loving Father resolving our sin in himself. Jesus didn’t die for God. He died for us.
Easter and My Struggle with the Brutality of God’s Plan
Something about the story made me cringe every time I heard it, and since I grew up a Baptist, I heard it a lot: To satisfy His need for justice and His demand for holiness, God sentenced His own Son to death in the brutal agony of a crucifixion as punishment for the failures and excesses of humanity.
Don’t get me wrong. I want as much mercy as I can get. If someone else wants to take a punishment I deserve and I get off scot free, I’m fine with that. But what does this narrative force us to conclude about the nature of God?
As we approach Easter, the crucifixion story most often told paints God as an angry, blood-thirsty deity whose appetite for vengeance can only be satisfied by the death of an innocent—the most compassionate and gracious human that ever lived. Am I the only one who struggles with that? The case could be made that it makes God not much different from Molech, Baal or any of the other false deities that required human sacrifice to sate their uncontrollable rage.